Behavior Issues

tonyandpals

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I'm struggling w/ behavior issues on the 7yo team I'm coaching. Yes, they are seven, I get that piece. But I need to techniques to use when things go too far.

Had a kid spit in another players face - done in retaliation to someone for doing something to him that I missed. Whatever the case is. Not acceptable. I pulled him aside, scolded him as best I could for a kid I met 2 weeks ago and delivered the news to his mom after the game. We were getting ready to hit so I didn't let him hit that inning.

Had a group of kids that get impatient on defense and would yell things like 'hit the ball' or express general disdain when there was a batter struggling to hit the coach pitch. That was squashed pretty quick, except for the same kid above who insisted on yelling things and was again sent to the bench. The next few weeks we talked about respecting teammates, coaches and opponents and that disrespect would lead to consequences.

General lack of paying attention. Walking the field, talking about what position is what. Kids just wandering off away from the group. Tackling each-other. Just a lack of focus, no matter how many times I real them in

Had a kid flat out trip/clip the back foot of a teammate as he was walking off the field in front of him. (Yes same kid as item one above). Made him apologize and he wasn't allowed to participate in the drill we did next, that is by far a favorite of the kids.

Just looking for some approaches here...
 

HurstSoGood

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Sorry to hear that Tony.
Regarding the bad apple: There is always a chance that your problem child may not even want to be there and is acting out as a way to get run. It would not surprise me to hear this is a common scenario in school as well (uses bad behavior to get what he wants, especially if there are no further consequences). If the kid has professional-grade issues, it is not on you to be the miracle worker. My only advice is to include the parents/guardians, set clear expectations (personal and/or league) and be consistent. Always follow through on your warnings. For that one kid, life is too short to put up with that crap. Sucks the life out of a good youth league experience.

That said, here are some angles that worked for me.
*Be patient. Praise the kids who are paying attention, or can recall team rule(s) of your choosing.
*Use pop-quizzes to random kids rather than lecturing to the group. Put them on the spot.
*Incorporate movement drills, like base running and sliding: Every kid is involved, it tires them out, it gives the kids a reason to cheer for one another (how fast can you go first to third or second to home) and it puts you in a position to give positive and constructive feedback.
*Rather than trying to have a full infield/outfield drill for 7-year-olds, focus on teaching one or two defensive positions at a time. Every kid should get a chance to learn about and experience as many positions as possible, before they get pigeon-holed.
*Ask another parent to help out by playing soft-toss against a fence. This is a great way to give kids some individual attention while giving others a chance to try different things. Moms can do this, too.
*Ask another parent to work on some easy outfield drills/practice techniques while the infield is focused on shagging BP. Many 7-year olds are not going to hit it far. Moms can do this, too.
Hope this helps.
Best of luck!
 

Ale Xander

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One approach would be to abstain from scolding 7 year-olds that are not related to you, especially if the kid thinks that he/she was the (first) victim.
 

doc

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One approach would be to abstain from scolding 7 year-olds that are not related to you, especially if the kid thinks that he/she was the (first) victim.
No if you are the coach you the teacher/baby sitter/surrogate parent for the moment and telling the spitter that spitting is not allowed and having immediate consequences (ie not hitting) is perfect.
 

tonyandpals

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One approach would be to abstain from scolding 7 year-olds that are not related to you, especially if the kid thinks that he/she was the (first) victim.
Yeah that's not me. I see a kid spit on another kid on my watch, he's getting pulled aside and going to know that's not okay. If that's overstepping my bounds then I'm unfit for this whole deal. His parents didn't seem to mind so I'm not too worried about it.
 

Just a bit outside

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Does this kid having all the problems have a specific diagnosis from his school? It sounds like he has some emotional/social issues. Maybe the parents have some info they haven't shared with you.

As far as the other kids try and break up practices into small stations with no more than 3-4 in a group. If you are doing a team practice drill try to station other parents in certain spots on the field to remind individual kids to stay focused.
 

garlan5

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Horse play and that nonsense gets you a lap on my son's same age group team / league. They also run to the fence is they repeatedly let a ball go under the glove or they don't cover the ball up on infield drills. Continued lack of focus warrants a lap instead of running to the fence. It really dials them in and seems to work. Running them for bad behavior is def warranted
 

Saints Rest

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As a dad of a child with ADHD who has been singled out for some behavior like you address, my suggestion would be to pull all the kids together and lay out your rules. Make it clear that rule-breaking will have consequences and be specific. Then enforce the rules equally. My son did really well once the rules were explained as being universal. Kids like that are used to being singled out and they hate it. Keep it generalizable and it might help.
 

BroodsSexton

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Horse play and that nonsense gets you a lap on my son's same age group team / league. They also run to the fence is they repeatedly let a ball go under the glove or they don't cover the ball up on infield drills. Continued lack of focus warrants a lap instead of running to the fence. It really dials them in and seems to work. Running them for bad behavior is def warranted
You're making 7-year-olds run laps as punishment for making fielding errors? That's fucked up, man.
 

Heinie Wagner

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"Idle hands are the Devil's workshop"

Which makes baseball really tough for young boys. I think you have a sound approach. If a kid wants to be there, making him miss a turn at bat or sit out a favorite drill is the best consequence you can give.

To reiterate some advice above - keep them all as busy as you possibly can. For practice, use stations with small groups with plenty of movement and keep each station to 5-10 minutes or shorter if you are losing kids. Keep track of time. Keeping kids engaged is the highest priority. If you really wanted to work on ground balls, but whatever drill you're doing isn't keeping them engaged, move on and come back to ground balls another day.

For games, have a coach in the dugout keeping players engaged by constantly asking kids questions, how many outs? what is the count? where is the play? what could he have done differently? If you find a coach who can do this, make sure you get his kid on your team every season for the rest of your coaching career.

Baseball is really, really tough to coach at that age/level, it can be a slow game. Some kids don't want to be there and boys that age do not want to sit still. Patience, patience, patience and have fun.
 

doc

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You're making 7-year-olds run laps as punishment for making fielding errors? That's fucked up, man.
When those 7 yo's end up winning the epic extra inning playoff game because of those laps then you'll change your tune.
 

LoweTek

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I have done 7-8 YO last Spring and 9-10 YO this Spring. At least half the team suffers to one degree or another from ADD/ADHD. I have a long rope but eventually you have no choice but to call them down. My particular pet peeve is talking and screwing around while the coach is talking to the team. This year I had one kid who was almost personally responsible for two end of season losses. He was the worst for this affliction and wasting a lot of talent. He was even chosen for the all-star team.

For the 7-8 YO group last year early on I had an issue with dirt throwing. I stopped the practice and had the culprit(s) run either one or two times around the bases. Very effective as I have found the only thing small kids understand and want to avoid is being singled out. While he is running I am speaking to him and the remaining players about having to hold up everyone's practice because of a bad behavior.

It works.
 

tonyandpals

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Lots of good stuff here, thanks guys.

We try to never do a drill that involves lines, and mostly use station approach. When we are in the field, we do an infield only and the other group is doing a drill in the outfield.

I think I need to set some better groundrules and lay out what the consequences for breaking them will be. I'd never have a kid run a lap based on a miscue, at least not at this age. Maybe for the mental lapses down the road.

I've spoken with the parents of the regular offender and they expressed it is a daily struggle for them as well as the school (ADHD). The kid wants to be there and is probably the most talented on the team (and will be happy to tell you he is). Just trying to reign him in a bit as it's trickling down to the other kids. They don't need much help to get off the rails.
 

Heinie Wagner

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I've spoken with the parents of the regular offender and they expressed it is a daily struggle for them as well as the school (ADHD). The kid wants to be there and is probably the most talented on the team (and will be happy to tell you he is). Just trying to reign him in a bit as it's trickling down to the other kids. They don't need much help to get off the rails.
Sounds like you've put a lot of thought, effort and energy into this, those boys are fortunate to have you.
 

garlan5

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You're making 7-year-olds run laps as punishment for making fielding errors? That's fucked up, man.
Sorry for the confusion but not me, the coach. Yes they run them on repeated lack of effort. Not a lap just because they miss one. They usually get one or two passes and reminders. They run them on things if they aren't paying attention especially since we have kids who can hit hard line drives and home runs in the 7-8 year old group. Very rarely do they run because they know the coach means business. It probably sounds worse than it is but our baseball program is decent but a small community compared to most.